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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Electrical, HVAC & Energy Efficiency > Radiant Barrier

Radiant Barrier Cost


How Much Does a Radiant Barrier Cost?

 
low costLow: DIY Materials $150-$750average costMedium: Installed $300-$2,000+
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A radiant barrier is a layer of metallic foil that blocks heat. It's usually installed in the attic to cut heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. According to the US Department of Energy[1] , radiant barriers are more effective in hot climates than in cold ones, and can reduce cooling costs 5-10 percent in a warm, sunny climate.

Typical costs:

  • Rolls can cost about 10 to 25 cents per square foot for single-sided radiant barrier, or $150-$375 for enough for a typical 1,500-square-foot attic; and it can run 15 to 50 cents a square foot for double-sided radiant barrier, or $225-$750 for 1,500 square feet. (But when bought in smaller quantities radiant barrier materials can be 75 cents-$1 or more a square foot.) Installing a radiant barrier is a fairly common do-it-yourself project, although it can be hot and time-consuming work. A Dallas homeowner[2] spent under $200 on a do-it-yourself radiant barrier installation.
  • Informal surveys show installation costs can range from 10 cents to $1 a square foot, with the higher prices seemingly based primarily on marketing practices, according to the Florida Solar Energy Center[3] . Total costs for having someone install 1,500 square feet in a typical attic start around $300-$500 for a basic project with single-sided material, and can run $600-$2,000 for a complex project using high-quality double-sided material. Installation costs are usually cheaper for floor applications and more expensive for the labor-intensive process of attaching the radiant barrier to the attic rafters.
  • Installation costs are usually lower for new home construction; a Virginia homeowner[4] paid an additional $500 to have roofers install 5,000 square feet of radiant barrier foil over the rafters before covering the roof, making the home significantly cooler.
Related articles: Home Insulation, Weatherstripping, Ceiling Fan, Programmable Thermostat

What should be included:
  • While standard insulation absorbs heat, a radiant barrier works by significantly reducing the amount of heat that is transferred across an air space. The key material in radiant barriers is typically aluminum, which reflects thermal radiation well and gives off very little heat, according to the Florida Solar Energy Center[5] , which also describes the types[6] of radiant barrier materials available.
  • There are several attic installation approaches, typically involving either the attic floor or roof. With floor installation, the radiant barrier is laid directly on top of existing attic insulation, reflective side up (some experts argue that after a few years dust-buildup can reduce a floor-laid barrier's effectiveness, but a study[7] by the Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association found floor application to be the most effective method). With roof installation, the rolls of foil can be stapled on the bottom of the attic rafters (inside the attic) or (for new construction or when the roof is being replaced) draped over the tops of the rafters before the roof deck is applied. A radiant barrier manufacturer lists installation tricks[8] that can make the process easier and defines standard terms[9] . A radiant barrier distributor illustrates[10] the installation process.
Additional costs:
  • A radiant barrier can cause damage if the attic isn't properly ventilated. You could need to add an attic fan or other ventilation system.
Discounts:
  • A radiant barrier installed in 2009 with the primary purpose of insulation may qualify for up to a $1,500 federal tax credit[11] for 30 percent of the material costs (installation charges are not included). To apply you will need your purchase receipt and the Manufacturer's Certification Statement.
Shopping for a radiant barrier:
  • The Florida Solar Energy Center lists the characteristics[12] to consider in selecting radiant barrier materials. Major manufacturers include Fi-Foil[13] , Innovative Insulation[14] , Insulation Solutions[15] and Radiant Guard[16] .
  • Referrals are available from the Insulation Contractors Association of America. Request and verify references, and check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[17] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Radiant Barrier Insulation
Amount: $900.00
Posted by: Roger Jacobson in Ellisville, MS.Posted: February 17th, 2010 08:02AM
Type: Super R PlusSq. Ft.: 2800
I bought and installed Super R Plus Radiant Barrier it was very hot and hard to install because of the braceing and space in my attic. But it works very well it did away with the hot spots in my house and from the end of july to the end of august my electric bill went down 26% and has stayed down. This is a great product from Innovative Insulation and we got a 30% tax credit. Radiant Barrier works
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External Resources:
  1.  energy.gov/articles/radiant-barriers
  2.  www.city-data.com/forum/dallas/118146-radiant-barrier.html
  3.  www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/html/FSEC-EN-15/#cost
  4.  ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/energy/msg0712133420856.html
  5.  www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/html/FSEC-EN-15/#block
  6.  www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/html/FSEC-EN-15/#available
  7.  www.rimainternational.org/tech_pdfs/An_Evaluation_of_Placement_of_Radiant_Barriers...
  8.  www.radiantguard.com/radiant-barrier-installation-tips.aspx
  9.  www.radiantguard.com/radiant-barrier-definitions.aspx
  10.  www.atticfoil.com/how-radiant-barrier-works/install-guide.html
  11.  www.energyefficientsolutions.com/taxcredit.asp
  12.  www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/html/FSEC-EN-15/#available
  13.  www.fifoil.com/Builders/Applications/Residential/ApplicationInfo/?ID=8
  14.  www.radiantbarrier.com/what-is-radiant-barrier.htm
  15.  www.insulationsolutions.com/products.html
  16.  www.radiantguard.com/
  17.  www.bbb.org/us/consumers/check-out-a-business-or-charity/
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